The smartwatch has come a long way. From the butt of Dick Tracy-inspired jokes, it has become an essential smartphone accessory for many.
It offers in a very small, convenient package instant access to notifications of all kinds, as well as offering the potential to control a range of functions via both voice and gesture.
From paying for groceries to tracking your daily steps, the smart watch can act like a PA on your wrist – and can run native apps, too, meaning that further functionality unfolds the longer smart watches are on the market.
So developing an app for these platforms makes sense – users are adopted them and accessing smart watch features increasingly over time. As with all devices, however, the smart watch makes specific demands of anyone building an app for the platform.
Whether you’re developing for Samsung’s Galaxy Watch or the Apple Watch 4 – or even looking at options that can encompass smaller players like the TicWatch or Fitbit Versa – there are three simple rules of thumb to keep in mind.
Smart watches are more mobile even than phones and tablets – which means that, at each interaction, users may not be engage with the watch face for as long. As a result, interactions need to be quick and seamless. Strip features back to focus on briefer engagement with less screen-space to play with.
It’s important to understand that the full user experience cannot be replicated on a smart watch. Ensuring that you have a refined UI that is minimal can help to match your app to the device’s simplicity. Smart Watches are about convenience and your apps need to reflect that – not just in features, but in presentation and flow. Your app will be used almost exclusively on the go.
Smart watch users do not want to scroll, read beyond a few words, or tap multiple times on the small watch face. They might do this initially, having just purchased a new device, but that desire will wear off. The key is to make your smart watch app as simple and convenient as possible. Keep everything as straightforward as possible.
It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3 – and those are our tips for a successful smart watch app.
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